COVID-19 cases at multiple BBL clubs are threatening to derail some marquee fixtures after Cricket Australia joined the list of sporting bodies grappling with outbreaks.
The Stars have revealed seven players and eight staff members now have the virus, casting extreme doubt on whether their upcoming games will take place as scheduled.
Glenn Maxwell’s side are slated to face Perth in Melbourne on Sunday then tackle the Renegades on Monday, an MCG match that would ordinarily attract one of the biggest crowds of the regular season.
But the Stars’ contingent with coronavirus have started a seven-day stint in isolation, as per government guidelines.
Four players from Sydney Thunder have also contracted COVID-19.
Those cases have created an immediate scheduling nightmare for Cricket Australia (CA), which is also reeling from news that Test batter Travis Head has the virus.
BBL administrators, locked in talks with South Australia’s government, are still hopeful the New Year’s Eve clash between the Thunder and Adelaide Strikers will proceed at Adelaide Oval.
CA had largely been able to chart a path around the COVID-19 pandemic prior to Thursday’s postponement.
But they now face the prospect of further fixture rejigs and indeed more cases popping up among players and staff as community transmission continues to grow.
CA is keen to stage as many BBL games as possible in the school-holiday period, and ensure the season wraps up on January 28.
The governing body’s chief executive Nick Hockley, having already shifted the fifth Test from Perth to Hobart, has repeatedly made it clear he is desperate to stick to the men’s Ashes schedule if possible.
Elsewhere, Melbourne Renegades have been forced to omit James Pattinson from their 15-man squad for Saturday’s game against Hobart Hurricanes.
Pattinson is awaiting the outcome of a PCR test.
The Stars’ players who tested negative on Thursday will be tested again on Saturday.
The Stars are currently working with Cricket Australia in relation to their immediate fixture and will provide an update as soon as possible.
‘The health and safety of our players and staff will continue to be our priority,’ Stars general manager Blair Crouch said.
‘We are providing all the support we can to players, staff and their families. I’d like to thank the medical teams at both Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia for their ongoing guidance.’
Meanwhile, Melbourne City’s A-League Men game with Adelaide United on Wednesday 5 January has been postponed due to City’s FFA Cup quarter final with Wellington Phoenix.
City were subject to three postponements due to COVID-19 over the festive period with games against Western Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle all called off.
All but one of the New Year’s Day weekend A-League Men fixtures were cancelled with Wellington facing Adelaide on January 1 in South Australia the sole surviving match.